Important Car Gear

When you think of driving disasters, you typically think of bad weather, collisions, and flat tires. These are things you typically expect to happen at least once in your life, but they’re not the only things that can happen when driving.

Far from it, in fact. Disaster and problems come in many shapes and sizes, from the small, minor inconvenience, to horror movie-esque scenarios you’d heartily mock for days afterward if you saw something similar at the cinema.

There are many important pieces of gear you need in the car without you realizing you need them until it’s too late, and even though you’re likely to (and hopefully never will) use them, we’d much rather you have them and not need than to need and not have. Because we want to keep you safe and sound when on the road, here are our top tips of the most important gear to keep in your car so you’re ready for any situation whenever and wherever.

man driving

For Breakdowns

Nobody is immune to breakdowns, and it doesn’t matter how well you maintain your car, how carefully your scrub and wax and clean it every week, a breakdown will happen at some point. It’s just a fact of life.

To ensure you don’t get caught out when your car breaks down (typically in the middle of nowhere with only tumbleweed and deserted, creepy gas stations for company), it’s important to have the right tools to get you over the hump. We know not all car issues can be solved with what’s in your toolset or jumper cables, but knowing how to repair minor and easy-fix issues will get you back on the road in no time.

Let’s say you can’t fix it though, and you’ve got to wait on the side of the road for breakdown services to show up. We’re used to being connected wherever we are, and while our smartphones are, well, super smart, you don’t want to run the battery down while you pass the time by listening to music.

Instead, investing in a retro cell phone, or even an emergency radio, like the one you had as a kid, will give you a way to get in touch without worrying about the battery dying. These cell phones may not have Instagram or Snapchat, but they will last longer than your standard smartphone battery, and if you need to get in touch at any point, they are perfect for getting you out of trouble. If they tell you they will be a while, then you best hope you brought your wearable sleeping bag to get you through the night.

For Emergencies

Touch wood you never find yourself in an accident or emergency situation, but let’s say you do, a nasty one at that, one that’s not your fault, but the fault of that idiot who’s been tailgating you for 10 miles now and was so impatient he had to try cutting you off as you rounded the turn. Idiot. It probably didn’t help he was on his cell phone, either.

And let’s say you’ve toppled over, gotten stuck in a ditch with your hazards futilely flashing to passersby who are well aware of your predicament. You’re stuck, and they are waiting around for the correct emergency services to arrive, but you’re okay, or as okay as you can be. What now?

Time to go into business for yourself, it seems. Having things on hand and close by such as a knife or a belt cutter can help get you out of dangerous situations in a hurry. But they aren’t just useful for you. Imagine you’re on the other side of this disaster (not the idiot, but the onlookers), you can be the hero your mother always promised you were and save some poor souls with these same tools, too.

open car trunk

For Long Trips

On a lighter note, long trips can be dull. We know how dull they are yet every year 39% of Americans and tourists undertake the Great American Road Trip. you’ll have all your essentials such as snacks, a ready-made playlist, and a carefree attitude. But that’s not all you’ll need.

Modern technology grants us a lot, and to ensure you document your road trip properly you’ll need things such as extra storage solutions such as SD cards. You’ll also need something to keep your devices (smartphone, GoPro, and camera) charged and ready to capture those moments as soon as they happen.

Knowing this, look for a suitable power bank to take with you on your trip and store it in the glove box. This will also be useful for both emergencies and breakdowns and will give you some respite should the worst occur.

It’s also important to stay hydrated so you can keep your energy up because highway diner coffee won’t cut it all the time. Bring a water bottle or two along with you to stay energized and prevent any accidents happening on those long trips into the horizon.

For Every Time

Along with these, also think about things you will need in your car for any occasion, disasters, accidents, or just trips to the supermarket. These are just simple additions you can throw in the trunk as soon as you’ve finished reading this and will ensure you’re prepared for all weathers, all conditions, and all (okay most) situations.

A rechargeable flashlight is a great tool to have not just for nighttime driving but also for pinpointing problems under the hood and under your car. If you live in areas with less-than-predictable weather, an umbrella is also a great piece of gear to have, especially if you lock yourself out of your car in the rain and need to wait for a locksmith to come to your rescue.

While offline maps are useful when you’re without signal, you can’t trust them all the time. Because of this, it’s smart to get your hands on a proper old-fashioned physical road map and also learn how to read it, too. A road map will get you out of many situations where your cell phone fails you and will make your dad mighty proud of how mature you are, too.

man in the car holding phone

Life’s A Ditch And Then Your Car Breaks Down

You never know what could happen when on the road, and while we’re not trying to spook you into never getting in your car again, we are trying to help you prepare for the worst, and even if it’s not the worst, it’s at least something that will make any problems or accidents easier to deal with.

Sources:

  1. 16 Things You Should Have In The Trunk Of Your Car – Thrillist
  2. What to pack in your emergency breakdown kit – RAC
  3. The Great American Road Trip: Shorter and More Popular Than Ever – NY Times